Depending on where you live, your kids may already be thinking about school supplies, new schedules, and what the next grade is going to look like. Here are a few tips for back to school so you won’t be blindsided by what’s coming. Whatever age your children are, you can be a step ahead of the game but also be their number one resource too.
There’s a lot that on-the-ball dads can do to make sure home and school are well connected. From computer hook-ups to being aware of carry-over academic challenges, we can have a game plan in place designed to give everyone involved a solid start and a leg up.
Sometimes the details can appear overwhelming, but there’s a lot we can do now to make life smoother in the Fall. Check out these 10 Tips for Back to School and get ready to look like the hero you are.
1. Be in the know.
Okay, Dad, don’t be clueless. You need to know the details—you need to know what is expected, both of you and your child. Put the exam schedule on your calendar. Know how to log into your child’s grade account. For upper school students, get a copy of the course syllabus so you have a heads up on projects.
2. Have a plan with clear expectations.
The time to be involved in the coming semester is now. We are exponentially more likely to be productively supportive when we know exactly what that means, and our children are more likely to be successful when they have confidence in Dad.
3. Hook up the technology.
Most schools have ways for kids and parents to be connected with news, assignments, grades, and issues via the Internet. Be a good tech-dad and make sure every line of communication is free and clear.
4. Plan to attend orientation and parent-teacher conferences.
It’s important that our children understand that we are invested in their education. Meet the teacher(s), get a copy of the schedule, and make it clear to junior that school is a family priority.
5. Believe in your child.
Kids can sense uncertainty. Make sure your belief is genuine, and make it contagious. Conversely, negativity and doubt communicate eloquently, devastatingly, with or without words.
6. Coach your child to succeed.
Fist-bumps, notes in the lunchbox, rehearsal drills on the basics. Dad can set the tone and provide the impetus to move forward into the new school year.
7. Set boundaries.
If TV, sports, or friendships are getting in the way of academics, you need to step in and limit those things.
8. Sign up for something (anything!).
You may or may not be a dad with tons of available flextime, but you can always be involved in something. (We recommend the All Pro Dad’s Day school program). Dad signing up is a huge positive for any kid in any grade.
9. Talk over the challenges.
It does no one any good to be blindsided by difficulty. Is there a problem in math? Tutoring should already be under way. Are there medical issues? Make sure the arrangements are clear. Behavioral concerns? Junior needs to understand the plan and the consequences before school begins. Need ideas? Check out iMOMs Back to School TALK.
10. Model excitement.
If Dad and Mom are positive about the coming semester and the new schedule, chances are the kids will fall in line. Mentally prepare yourself on the way home from work so that you can help your kids with homework when you get there.
Huddle up with your family tonight and have everyone list two things they’re excited for about the new year and one concern that they’re worried about.